Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Faves ~ Part 1

Today I wanted  to share some of my faves that the kids got for Christmas.  I've never seen such cute gifts!  I'll have to keep these in mind for future gifts I have to buy. 

First, the Stinker.  Faves are:

This gift is adorable and he had the best time with it.  After hearing him laugh his head off when we put the hand puppet on our hand and disguised our voices as if the puppet was talking, I realized that Taz had never seen a hand puppet!  What kind of mom am I?!  These dolls and hand puppets are made 100% from reclaimed wool that would have filled up a land field.  I spent a good while on their website reading about them and think this is one cool company! (link is above)

Now this is a great idea!  How many times have I needed one of these in a restaurant.  Love this!  This will be my new go-to gift for toddlers!  Thanks, Aunt Jenn-Jenn!  You rock!

It even came in that cute little gift box!  Love this.  Not your typical remote control car.  It's so cute and fun!

Taz received the teal/green monster slippers above (bottom right) and thinks they are so cool!  Of course, he thinks they are cool because he is obsessed with the movie Monsters Inc. at the moment.  He wants to wear his "monster shoes" all the time.  I'm waiting for him to ask me to wear them out of the house.....


Endless hours of fun!  He thought this was SO cool!




Next, the Doodlebug.  Faves are:


How precious is this!  It's all wood and the cupcake tops are velcro so you can interchange them!

Actually, this is not the exact one she got as a gift.  Hers is white with pink in the ears.  So precious!  I could not find hers online and sadly, this one is currently unavailable.  If you're wanting to order one, I can put you in touch with the boutique where hers was bought.

The Doodlebug got some, too!  Hers are the little white/pink lamb slippers right above the monster ones.  (bottom right)

How beautiful is this!  Can't wait for her to wear it!  Thanks, Aunt Jenn-Jenn!  You're the coolest.

Adorable and soft.  Perfect for tiny little tot hands.  And, non-breakable, too!  So sweet and this photo does not do it justice.  It's the only they had on their website.  I wish it showed the inside.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BIG changes happening & HE is my Constant through them all....

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  We sure had fun.  We got so many great gifts and gave so many great gifts, I want to share them all with you.  But first.....need to make an announcement.....

BIG changes are about to take place.  On my blog and *i.r.l. 

(*in real life)


A long time ago --- pre kids, before I was even married and before I even knew what a blog was --- I used to tell people something.  I didn't tell strangers.  They would have known thought I was crazy.  I mostly told family members and good friends.  It was no surprise to them anyway.  They were safe.  They knew I wanted 6 kids.  That's right.  3 girls.  3 boys.  Twins in the middle.  They also knew I was strong willed and ambitious.  They knew I marched to the beat of my own drum.  I didn't care what anyone thought.  If Kat and/or Meredith are reading this -- do you remember the sleepover at Deana's when y'all told me I was like a "little mother", like a "little Deana" and I locked myself in the bathroom for 2 hours while you and Deana tried to get me to come out.  Little did I know that was the biggest compliment of my life!  I'm getting off track.....

Back to what I told my family and close friends.  This was usually after some reaction to my grand statement of wanting 6 children.  I would say....

"Oh yes!  Big families are so much fun!  .....

(I was an expert, you know, since I had hung out at the Foley's and Purdy's a time or two.  Plus, my parents were Catholic and both came from families with lots of kids) 

......I want their to never be a dull moment...always lots going on....always lots of laughter.  I want to always be active and I want tons of activities to go to all the time.  I want to always be very involved in all their lives.  I would get great joy out of knowing that I helped make that and I was a part of that big difference all my family members were making.  And I would love to be in charge of something like that!  Something so grand as a BIG family! "

(and here's the kicker)

"I just want there to be constant chaos all the timeI think that's so much fun!"

We just need to stop right here.  Number 1, I was crazy.  Young, crazy and in love....with life.  Also, I think we need to talk about the fact that my life gives new meaning to the phrase Be careful what you wish for!  We may not have lots of kids (yet), but never a dull moment?  Check!  Always lots going on?  Check!  Lots of laughter?  Check!  Always active and lots of activities going on?  Check, check!  Constant chaos?  CHECK! 

Do you remember me telling you that I was planning on getting a professional blog design and iBlog was possibly getting a new name?  Well, it's happening and at just the perfect time.  First I'll tell you about the new blog changes and then I'll fill you in on some life changes that all sort-of make it fit together at the right time. 

iBlog will be a year old on February 12, 2011 and what better time for the big reveal of the new professionally designed look!  So, on or around February 12th I'll  have my new blog design hopefully!  The design will be in the works soon!  (there were lots of others a head of me).  I'm SUPER excited about this.  I'm like a kid at Christmas and can't wait to see what Carolyn comes up with for my new look! 

As for the name....iBlog will become Constant in Chaos.  It fits perfect.  If you know me, you know why it fits perfect, but by the end of this blog post everyone will understand fully just what the new title means to me.  When I started iBlog, I had no idea what direction it would take.  I just knew I wanted to blog.  It has sort-of become a place where I blog about where life and God are taking us and our new business venture.  It amazes me more than anything when I think about how God has worked in our lives since moving here and starting this blog.  Through all the changes, HE has remained constant.  HE above has been my Constant among all the chaos.  It just fits perfectly.   Trust me.

Back at the home stead......things are changing.  This Christmas we had to endure something hard again.  John Taylor lost his job a couple of weeks before Christmas.  If you've been reading my blog for a while then you know that JT lost his job last Christmas and was rehired by the same company shortly after he got laid off.  During the time he was laid off, I helped him start his own business.  We have been so blessed in all areas, even if that sounds ironic.  God had a plan for us.  Things are starting to make sense.....

We have decided to move back into our house in Birmingham and grow John Taylor's business there.  He is also currently looking for a job there, too.  Although he loves building and is making money at it, we still need benefits since I'm a stay-at-home-mom.  Please keep his job search and our move in your prayers. 

The last few weeks have been hard.  One would think we could say been there, done that and it would make it easier.  It wasn't.  It was Christmas.  We have two small kids who we wanted to have a good Christmas.  We have two house notes.  I'm a stay-at-home-mom.  We still haven't recovered from last year.  It's hard. 

I'm trying very hard to rest in HIM, put my trust in HIM, let HIM lead and guide me.  I've spent a lot of time in prayer lately and I've shed a lot of tears.  Don't get me wrong, I've yelled a lot, stomped a lot, asked why a lot, cussed a lot, screamed out a lot and blamed a lot.  But, I've learned a lot, too.  God isn't through with us yet and He has worked in us tremendously the past two years.  Our marriage has gone into a valley due to all the stressed we've endured, but I try not to focus on that and focus on the fact that we love each other, we have each other, we're both healthy and we realize the proper steps we need to take in order to not let the great thing we have together slip away.  I'm proud of John Taylor and I'm proud to be his wife. 

There have been many important decisions to make since JT lost his job that would effect us and effect our family.  I took the advice of a friend and just prayed to God through the whole process that He would close any doors that weren't of His will and His plan.  That's so much easier than worrying and trying to control things myself (although I did a little of that, too...wink wink). 

I have also learned that God never changes.  I change.  Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  I see a pattern now.  When I'm far from God (stop praying, stop reading my Bible), things are just a mess and I seem to cry a lot more.  Insecurity sets in, too.  When I have a close relationship with God, even in the midst of pain, I'm able to handle things better and handle my earthly life.  God does not change.  He is my Constant.

My chaotic life may change and it's chaos may shake me, but if I cling to Him, His strength will sustain me.

Psalm 33:11 "The Lord's plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken."
Ephesians 2:10 "We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago"

I found this on a website and wanted to share:
"God's unchanging commitment guarantees everlasting security. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can be assured of eternal life. God is eternally committed to your redemption, your spiritual growth, and your eternal destiny. God's commitment to you is as strong as He is eternally constant. The storms of life are continually changing, but God remains the same. He is consistent and reliable. He is your anchor. You can count on God because He never changes."

Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever"

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Christmas Story
Luke 2:1-20
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 

10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ [a] the Lord.  12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve (+ some free printables!)

On this Christmas Eve Eve, the flu has hit our household.  I say the flu, but what I really mean is a death like illness that I'm convinced is right from the devil himself!  Although, I do exaggerate and it could be worse.  Yes, it could be.  I'm sure of it.  Like last year when 3 out of 4 of us had the swine flu, one after another.  If there ever was a time when I thought something evil had entered our home and lives, it was that week!  With all that being said, I wanted to show you John Taylor's Christmas gift and mine, too.....
This stuff costs A LOT!  I'm not understanding why either.  According to my children, it tastes like chalk.  They didn't tell me this.  I'm going by the fact that Liz shakes her head back and forth really fast while shaking her whole body while taking it (she's only on it to prevent her, hopefully, from getting it)  And it is literally an hour long process every time we give Taz his dose.  It starts off with us trying to bribe him into taking it.  That's a no-go.  Tricking him?  Negative.  It usually ends with us holding him down and forcing him to take it.  That sounds so bad, but when your baby is hotter than fire, you're a little worried about him and have to get those meds in him!  Yes, fever that's hotter than fire.  Like I said, right from H-to-the-E-to-the-double-L! 

I sort-of have more sympathy for Taz considering I have the flu, too.  I never knew the roof of my mouth could ache or that my fingers could hurt so bad, I could hardly type.  Thankfully, John Taylor hasn't gotten it (knock on wood).  He can't get it.  He's too busy until late hours working on frame orders.....
He's my hero.  He works so hard for our little family.  Truth be told, I think he likes to go out there, put on his iPod and get in the zone.  I'm sure it's like a release for him to do what he loves!  I love watching him through this window because he never knows I'm there.  He's usually moving his mouth to whatever song he's listening to.  But, I'm always wishing he was inside with me, too.  ;)

I finished up our Christmas shopping....before I got sick.  It was the day that Taz was getting sick and JT had to take him to the doctor.  So, the Doodlebug and I went shopping.  I was actually finishing up Santa presents, but she's too young to realize there's a cart full of toys behind her.  Ha!  It was actually a smart way to shop for a one year old's Christmas.  If she pushed something away, it probably wasn't a good idea to get it for her for Christmas!  For example, I was SO excited about getting her an Elmo since she loves to watch Elmo on TV.  Boy was I wrong!  She took one look at him, grabbed him and threw him on the floor!  On the way home, we got stuck in a wreck.  Sitting still, for an hour!  My phone went dead and the only way to charge it was to unplug the DVD player!  TRAGEDY!  It was have a semi-happy baby or an iPhone to pass the time.  After a while, she realized it was almost her bedtime and she hadn't had dinner.  She let me know this by screaming.  I was forced to do something I said I'd NEVER do.  I turned around in the median (that's not the thing I said I'd never do) and found the nearest Wendy's.  Yes, that's right.  I let her eat a happy meal!  AHHHHH!  The madness.  When we finally got home, she walked inside and did this.  I'm not kidding.

I'm about to go wrap gifts!  I usually get my wrapping paper from paper-source every year, but this year I have so much left over from previous years, I'm going to use that up first.  Here are a few of my favorites from their site:






Speaking of gift wrapping......I'm sure y'all are really on top of things and have already finished wrapping.  But, if you're like me and you're wrapping today and tonight, you'll want to check out these sites that have the cutest free printables for gift tags!





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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Devotion...

I have been getting Christmas devotions in my email inbox for the past week from our Pastor.  Various people in our church have been writing them.  I wanted to share this one with you all today.  (It's a good thing because I'm plum out of creative things to share.  My baby boy has the flu and I'm pooped.)


Luke 2:26-33 "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, O favored one, the LORD is with you!' But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the LORD God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.'"



Mary was probably in her house, minding her own business when Gabriel came for a visit. As he finished his hellos, Mary was “greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.” There is an angel, something she most likely had never encountered, standing in front of her out of nowhere. And she is confused by what he is saying! I would be scared out of my wits and wouldn’t have even heard a word he said!!! Not Mary.


Mary was of royal lineage, yet lived in a very poor city. Her family most likely led a meager life materially. Yet there was a sweet humility about Mary. No resentment about what should be owed her, no jealousy of what others had. She considered herself a servant of God. So why would she think she should be favored? She lived in Galilee, a town that bordered a pagan country. “Galilee of the Gentiles” was looked down upon by the lofty Pharisees. Why should she have the presence of God with her?


But isn’t that just like God? He comes to us in the mire of life and says, “I have called you by name; you are mine…. I am with you.” (Is 43:1-11) Matthew Henry says, “Nothing is to be despaired of, not the performance of any service, not the obtaining of any favour, though ever so great, if we have God with us.” Mary knew that. I often forget that. Mary was amazed that she was favored. I take it for granted more regularly than I’d like to admit. Mary was chosen to carry the Son of the Most High in her womb. We have been chosen to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of God’s faithfulness, because of His graciousness, He chose to favor us.


As we approach the celebration of our Savior’s birth, let us remember that we are highly favored out of the abundance of God’s love. His Spirit is always with us. Almighty God will never leave or forsake us. - Sherlie Andrews

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Favorite Onaments In Blog Land

Sticking with yesterday's ornament theme, I wanted to share all the wonderful onaments I've seen out there in Blog Land....
 via The Swenglish Home








via Studio JRU


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Ornaments

Christmas season is my favorite for obvious reasons, but I need to admit that I'm a little addicted to buying tree ornaments.  I love for them to have meaning.  I also love framing pictures of the kids each year.  My plan is to one day have so many frame ornaments from over the years that I can start a smaller tree with just pictures on it.  Here are just a *few* of my favorite ornaments on our tree this year.

My ceramic Starbucks cup.  My sister has one just like it.  :)

Santa at the beach.  Love it!

 Our very fist Christmas ornament (by Lenox).  I think this was our very first ornament, too.  Someone gave it to us.  It's special because it has love birds on it.  And, if you knew John Taylor and I in college, you know they called us the OVPC Love Birds.

 My little rustic church.

 This little tiny sweater that belongs to Buzz Lightyear (my 3 year old told me that)

One of our first frame ornaments.

The 'Wish Ball'.  This is a pottery ball with star shaped holes.  The top comes off and you are to put your wishes inside.

 My first baby's 'First Christmas' ornament --- a Wedgwood baby shoe with the year on it.

 This is one of John Taylor's ornaments.  Before he was in sales, he was a turf guy.  In fact, his degree is in Agronomy/Golf & Sports Turf Management.  So, I think this speaks for itself.  ;)

 Another JT ornament.  If you have read my blog for a while, or know JT, this speaks for itself also.

 Such a special ornament.  Made for us by one of the adults at The Mustard Seed.

 Picture of my Dad and sister.  My Dad is the Santa on the left.  ;)

 My Gail Pittman angel.  Signed, "To The Moores, Merry Christmas, Gail"

 My first baby's first visit to see Santa.  He feel asleep in line waiting to meet the jolly man and Santa decided to roll with it.  He asked me to lay him in his arms and get his book.  He pretended like they both feel asleep reading the Christmas Story.  Priceless!

 Our first Christmas --- kissing under the mistletoe.

Merry, Merry!


*all images © CM, iBlog






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